Crookshank’s Copy

De Febre Purpura Epidemiali & Contagiosa Libri Duo.

Woodcut printer’s device on title. 8 p.l., 347, [18] pp. Small 4to, cont. blind-stamped pigskin-backed green vellum over boards (the vellum is a palimpsest), “A.S. 1594” stamped in black on pigskin of upper cover. Paris: M. Juvenis, 1578.

First edition and a lovely copy; “Coytard distinguished between petechial typhus and typhoid.”–Garrison-Morton 5372.1. Hirsch, II, p. 133 considers this work to be one of the first examples of modern epidemiological investigation. Coytard (d. 1590), was a physician at Poitier and later at Loudun. This book is the result of his investigations of a typhus epidemic that occurred in 1557 in the region of Rochelle, Angoulême, Bordeaux, and Poitier, where he was a professor on the Faculty of Medicine.

“Since the Classical age, humankind has had to cope with petechial typhus, especially during wars and famine. Epidemics chiefly occurred during sieges and followed the paths of armies, when infected soldiers transmitted the infection to populations with whom they came into contact. Winter exacerbated the disease due to the use of unhygienic woollen clothes that allowed the spread of pediculosis. It was only in the early 18th century that petechial typhus outbreaks diminished thanks to the use of Marseille soap and to the new custom of changing clothing at bedtime. In many military campaigns, deaths from typhus were higher than those due to war wounds.”–Sergio Sabbatani, “Petechial Typhus. History of Men, Armies and Pedicula,” abstract of his article in Infez. Med. (Sept. 2006), Vol. 14.3, pp. 165-73.

PROVENANCE: Late 18th-century or early 19th-century signature of “Davidson” on free front endpaper. Armorial bookplate of Edgar March Crookshank, Saint Hill, Sussex. Crookshank (1858-1928), founded one of the world’s first bacteriological laboratories for human and veterinary pathology. He concentrated on infectious diseases.

Fine and fresh copy. Binding a little rubbed, and small single wormhole in lower blank margin. Durling 1074 states that there was also an edition issued in Poitier in 1578, but it is not listed in WorldCat.

Price: $3,750.00

Item ID: 7381